Al Gore’s Revenge — Internal Combustion Engines Stink and This Ridiculously Powerful Electric Turbine Truck Proves It

As of yesterday, Nikola Motors announced the performance specs and preorders for its new hybrid electric long-haul truck. It’s a ridiculously awesome design — one that boasts across the board superior performance when compared to internal combustion engine based trucks that are currently available. The company producing this amazing feat of electrical hybrid vehicle engineering calls its new vehicle the Nikola One. But we’re going to have some fun at the expense of climate change deniers and electric vehicle detractors both here and call this thing Al Gore’s Revenge.

*****

Nikola One

(Nikola One aka Al Gore’s Revenge. It’s big, it’s red, it’s mean, it’s electric — and it’s about to eat internal combustion engine based trucking market share for lunch. Image source: Nikola Motor Company.)

If there’s ever been a name that climate change deniers tried to turn into a nasty joke, it’s Al Gore. Back in the late 1990s, Al Gore displayed amazing foresight and did the prescient, responsible thing by working to incentivize a transition to electrical vehicles. He rightfully attacked internal combustion engines for the inefficient, wasteful and fossil-fuel dependent beasts that they were. Calling them infernal internals, he was probably the first person of political standing to make the apt link, in reference, between climate change and hell on Earth.

For his good deeds and for his speaking truth to the political and economic powers of the day, Gore was largely demonized in the fossil fuels industry supported republican media. Pretty much anyone who defended Al Gore was attacked. And, for a while, despite a glaringly huge and growing scientific consensus, climate change deniers pretended that the notion of human caused climate change itself was the sole mental invention of this sensitive and thoughtful man.

Now, though, the joke is on the climate change deniers and on the fossil fuel industries, like Peabody Coal, who paid to support their demonization of climate leaders. For now even the fossil fuel haven that was long haul trucking is starting to fall due to the superior physical performance potentials of electric engines.

Al Gore’s Revenge — Electric Engines Aren’t Just Cleaner, They’re Better

Nikola One is an 18 wheel long haul trucking rig. Powered by an electric turbine engine, its 320 kwh battery pack is capable of propelling the vehicle, without the aid of any additional tanked fuel source, more than 190 miles. Tanked fuel then lengthens the legs of the more efficient electrical turbine giving it an ultimate total systems range of 1,200 miles. By comparison, an ICE-powered standard truck typically boasts a range of just 500 miles. As a result, the combined fuel efficiency of this massive rig is between 10 and 15 miles per gallon. This is 2-3 times the fuel efficiency rating of standard long haul trucks and about the fuel efficiency average of a relatively long-legged 1990s SUV.

An electrical vehicle powered by a battery that is capable of recharging either through regenerative breaking or a wall socket, the Nikola One is already capable of achieving a zero emissions ride. But that’s if truckers are willing to stop every 190 miles for a recharge or to put net zero carbon biofuels into its ‘agnostic’ fuel tank. In all likelihood, most rigs will be refueled for some time by compressed natural gas stations on many long haul routes. A combination that implies about a 75 percent reduction in carbon emissions during driving. However, the ability to place 190 miles worth of all electric range on a long haul truck now, means that battery technology needs to only see prices fall by another 60 percent in order for ICE comparable ranges to be achieved by an all-electric truck with a weight similar to the Nikola One (see more below).

But the superior performance specs don’t end at range, fuel efficiency, and reduced emissions. This vehicle boasts 2,000 horsepower (regular ICE trucks only have 500 horsepower), the ability to travel up hill at 65 miles per hour (ICEs really lag going up hill and can only do 20-40 mph on an incline) and to regenerate electricity from breaking while going downhill (ICEs regenerate nada). The Nikola One can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 30 seconds, or half the time it takes for a comparable ICE to make the mark. And the Nikola One saves weight — coming in at 2,000 pounds less than a typical ICE truck (one wonders what the all electric range would be if the 2,000 pound weight difference was instead used to add more batteries — possibly near 350 miles). In other words, the Nikola One is expected by be 10 percent leaner and a whole lot meaner than the fossil fuel combustion engine trucks that have dominated the roads for nearly a Century.

Nikola One Side View

(Side view of Nikola One. Nikola One boasts a 320 kw chargeable battery pack and a fuels agnostic ‘gas’ tank that can run on compressed natural gas, petroleum, diesel, or biofuels like ethanol or biodeisel. The truck can make a 190 mile range on all electric power and is capable of net zero carbon emissions travel in its full 1,200 mile range if the appropriate biofuel is used in its tank. The Nikola One is, therefore, more similar to the Chevy Volt than it is to the Tesla Model S. However, it represents a massive leap forward in sustainable trucking design. Image source: Nikola Motors.)

All of these amazing capabilities have generated a notable amount of excitement. And, in total, more than 7,000 preorders for these beasts have been logged so far. A value of 2.3 billion dollars for the emerging electric vehicle trucking company. Nicola’s CEO noted in a press release yesterday:

“Our technology is 10-15 years ahead of any other OEM in fuel efficiencies, MPG and emissions. We are the only OEM to have a near zero emission truck and still outperform diesel trucks running at 80,000 pounds. To have over 7,000 reservations totaling more than 2.3 billion dollars, with five months remaining until our unveiling ceremony, is unprecedented.”

The technology that allows Nikola One to achieve these weight saving and performance results centers around an electrical turbine engine and lithium based battery pack. The electrical engine is in itself about twice as efficient as an ICE. The battery pack allows for 190 miles of additional electrical range per charge and for the recuperation of electrical energy from regenerative breaking and from the action of the electrical engine itself. The result is a total system that possesses more power, weighs less, and is overall 2-3 times as efficient as an internal combustion based design. Though this system does use a fuel thank (which can be filled with CNG, petroleum, diesel or biofuel) to extend the base electrical range, it represents a huge leap forward in the sustainability of long haul trucking. And looking at the base numbers for weight and electric battery potential, it would be surprising if we did not see a number of 350 to 500 mile all electric truck ranges start to emerge in the time period between now and 2020.

Hybrid Electric Turbine

(If we’re going to tackle climate change, we need to address both long haul trucking and aircraft based fossil fuel emissions. Hybrid electric turbine technology like that used in Nikola One can also be used in jet aircraft. It’s a form of technology that both promises to make energy use more efficient and to provide a path to zero carbon emissions from these modes of transportation. In January, NASA performed an aircraft electric turbine demonstration that was capable of greatly reducing carbon emissions from air travel. Image source: NASA.)

Nikola One costs 375,000 dollars, which is about twice the price of a traditional long haul truck. However, the company notes that fuel costs for the vehicle are halved. Since fuel costs are a major primary expense for truckers and shipping companies, Nikola One’s added energy efficiency is expected to be very appealing to the current market. Superior performance will give the truck a time of travel edge over traditional vehicles along hilly routes or in areas where stop and go traffic is an issue. The company also plans to lease the trucks for $5,000 dollars a month and states that this offering a better value than a traditional ICE truck when accounting for the costs of fuel.

If Nikola is able to make good on its performance and cost promises for this truck, then one of the last bastions of fossil fuel dominance appears to be falling. Long haul trucking has long represented a sustainability challenge due to the high weight, long range, and high horsepower requirement of the industry. It was long thought that the energy density of fossil fuels would represent an impenetrable barrier to renewable energy systems in this market. But detractors apparently didn’t take into account the basic fact that Al Gore was right — the internal combustion engine is a laggard. And superior electrical engine performance now provides an avenue for renewable energy systems to begin to compete with fossil fuels in the long haul trucking arena. And one final note is that the hybrid turbine based electrical engine design used by Nikola may also provide a useful sustainability innovation for air travel — which also relies on turbines for jet propulsion (see NASA link below).

Al Gore’s Revenge indeed.

Links:

Nikola Motors Logs 7,000 Electric Long Haul Truck Preorders

Nikola Motor Company

Nikola Motors Gets 2.3 Billion Worth of Preorders For its Electric Semi

Peabody Coal Funded Climate Change Deniers

Researchers Advance Propulsion Toward Low Carbon Aircraft

Hat Tip to Greg

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

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96 Comments

  1. Vic

     /  June 15, 2016

    Wow, who’d have thought a truck could look so good. Let’s get those beasts hauling ore in the lithium mines.

    Shares in lithium miners soar…
    Galaxy Resources up from 2.4 cents to 50 cents in last year (2,000 per cent rise)
    Pilbara Minerals Limited up from 8.9 cents to 64.25 cents (700 per cent)
    Neometals up from 7.62 cents to 46.5 cents (600 per cent)

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-14/lithium-ion-battery-demand-fuels-stock-bubble/7510624

    Reply
    • I think hybridization will be the trend in the marginal areas like heavy machinery and aircraft for a bit. The added efficiency of electrical engines combo with better battery tech is going to continue to make gains into even those areas, though. It’s pretty exciting. Sad that we had to wait so long to get going on it.

      Reply
  2. Ken Provost

     /  June 15, 2016

    Electric turbine — had to look that one up. So, correct me, but this is a gas turbine turning a generator to charge the batteries? In a power plant, the gas turbine exhaust is typically used to boil water for a steam turbine pass, but obviously that can’t happen here.

    Isn’t that a LOT of waste heat? — yet said to be more efficient than internal combustion. What am I missing?

    Reply
    • 12volt dan

       /  June 16, 2016

      yes it is but the regular IC engines have an efficency of about 25% max for a gas and max 30% for a diesel so about 70% of the btu per unit is waste heat..Iis there any way to recover some of those ineficentcies? I would think so and personally I would expect something coming down the pipeline soon. fwiw I’m a mechanic (car and truck) and it’s good to see this now. I’m getting tired of all the add ons for polution that still convert any gasses regulated by the EPA to co2. I read somewhere last year I believe that the EPA is bringing in new co2 limits for trucks and says those targets (unknown right now ) can be met with current technology

      Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  June 18, 2016

      The new technology converting heat to electricity, major advances have been made.
      Once again 2D carbon plays a role

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  June 20, 2016

        http://phys.org/news/2016-06-graphene-device-fuel-efficient-cars-pole.html

        Graphene device puts fuel-efficient cars in pole position

        However the headline is deceptive, it is actually about conversion of waste heat into electricity using new technology.
        Perfectly suited to utilising the heat from the turbines

        A graphene-based electrical nano-device has been created which could substantially increase the energy efficiency of fossil fuel-powered cars.

        The nano-device, known as a ‘ballistic rectifier’, is able to convert heat which would otherwise be wasted from the car exhaust and engine body into a useable electrical current.

        Parts of car exhausts can reach temperatures of 600 degrees Celsius. The recovered energy can then be used to power additional automotive features such as air conditioning and power steering, or be stored in the car battery.

        The nano-rectifier was built by a team at The University of Manchester led by Professor Aimin Song and Dr. Ernie Hill, with a team at Shandong University. The device utilises graphene’s phenomenally high electron mobility, a property which determines how fast an electron can travel in a material and how fast electronic devices can operate.

        The resulting device is the most sensitive room-temperature rectifier ever made. Conventional devices with similar conversion efficiencies require cryogenically low temperatures.

        Reply
        • Add graphene to an ICE and you basicalltpy turn that engine into an electrical engine. Seems a waste of a good tech to reinvent the wheel. Why not just go all electric and then use graphene to reclaim heat/eltricity from friction. In any case, the lab to application barrier now applies to the ICE. Nice to see, though, that the push is now to add batteries even to ICE based drive trains — which will push the battery tech along even faster.

          We should be very clear, though, that you will never have an ICE that has a lower environmental impact, and a lower carbon emission than an EV. You can’t compete with net zero carbon emissions by usage.

      • Abel Adamski

         /  June 21, 2016

        Actually Robert.
        The reason I posted that article and my preface, which maybe I should have expanded on, was that it was in direct response to the comment re waste heat from the turbines.
        However that or similar technology is being developed for Solar Panels, as they have much waste heat from the unconverted solar energy. Actually being developed in Aus to increase overall conversion efficiency.
        Plus a huge list.
        Aircon heat conversion, Industrial cooling, building cooling systems etc etc.
        Another incremental energy efficiency and Electrical conversion/generation addition.
        I do note there seems to be a bit of panicked focus on promoting ICE power and it’s value and trying to extend it’s life span

        Reply
  3. Colorado Bob

     /  June 15, 2016

    The Great Russian Heat Wave and the Great Pakistan Floods, always seemed like 2 sisters from Pandora’s Box.

    Aerosols strengthen storm clouds, lead to extreme weather

    Date:
    June 13, 2016
    Source:
    University of Texas at Austin
    Summary:
    An abundance of aerosol particles in the atmosphere can increase the lifespans of large storm clouds by delaying rainfall, making the clouds grow larger and live longer, and producing more extreme storms, according to new research. The study is the first to address the impact that aerosol particles have on the lifespans of large thunderstorms called mesoscale convective systems.

    Link

    Reply
    • – Here’s a side article from 2012:

      Pollution teams with thunderclouds to warm atmosphere
      Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
      May 19, 2012


      Pollution strengthens thunderstorm clouds, causing their anvil-shaped tops to spread out high in the atmosphere and capture heat — especially at night, said lead author and climate researcher Jiwen Fan of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

      “Global climate models don’t see this effect because thunderstorm clouds simulated in those models do not include enough detail,” said Fan. “The large amount of heat trapped by the pollution-enhanced clouds could potentially impact regional circulation and modify weather systems.”
      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120519202816.htm

      Reply
    • You’re on the money with this one, Bob. Burning, heating the atmosphere and injecting cloud condensation nuclei really does increase the potential intensity of storms. We’re seeing it. And the 2011 Pakistan Floods were given a big assist by the drought and related fires over in Russia. Add in a high amplitude Jet Stream wave and you’ve got all the ingredients right there.

      Reply
  4. Ryan in New England

     /  June 16, 2016

    This is fantastic stuff. Very encouraging. The one sure way to get consumers (and long haul truckers) to embrace electric vehicles is to make their performance superior, which is what we’re seeing. Even fossil fuel cheerleaders who hate Al Gore and think climate change is some liberal conspiracy will line up to buy electric when they can get far superior power, torque, and triple their mileage. Plus the truck itself looks badass, which appeals to many truckers. I’ve often thought that part of the resistance to EVs was that the early versions looked like electric cars (personally, I liked them) and Americans are a hyper-masculine culture that views smart decisions, intelligence and caring about the environment with suspicion. We are also the original car culture, and oil/gasoline has become synonymous with the “muscle” and power that a ICE vehicles produce/unleash. But once the average American can witness the unbelievable torque and incredible acceleration of EVs for themselves, and also save money on fuel, they will come to embrace the transition.

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  June 16, 2016

      The Nicola is expected to be unveiled at the end of the year. There’s plenty more going on in the electrifying truck space that is further along than the Nicola One. For example a former Tesla engineer founded Wrightspace which focuses on medium haul trucks such as garbage trucks:

      Reply
    • Well said, Ryan. I agree. I liked the more elegant early electric truck designs more as well. A lot leaner on weight and materials. But this thing promises to do what the model S did for road cars — provide a vehicle that is superior in many if not all performance specs with an electric based system. The big Nikola truck is a hybrid, doesn’t require charging and can go further, is faster and more powerful than pretty much anything out there. But it’s also one heck of an EV truck by itself with the capability of traveling 190 miles on a electric charge and recharging at breaks. The electric turbine basically allowed Nikola to sneak a bit EV upgrade under the hood of a hybrid. Pretty brilliant if you ask me.

      Reply
    • Scott

       /  June 16, 2016

      And every time that thing blows away a new Peterbilt pulling out from a stoplight, or hauling a full load up I-70 westbound out of Denver, another new order will be placed that very night.

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  June 16, 2016

        Scott, yes! I-70 out of Denver is a beast of a hill! My brother lived in Denver and that was always our main route into the Rockies.

        Reply
  5. Ryan in New England

     /  June 16, 2016

    This is good news. The Pope’s encyclical is apparently starting to gain traction with religious leaders, as four Catholic organizations in Australia have recently announced that they will divest fully from coal, oil and gas.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/16/catholic-orders-take-their-lead-from-the-pope-and-divest-from-fossil-fuels

    Reply
  6. Mr. Scribbler, is this a threat to American and German truck makers?

    Reply
  7. Ryan in New England

     /  June 16, 2016

    Last Thursday Greenland’s capitol hit 75F.

    The record temperatures in June also led to an unusually high ice melt — covering nearly 40 percent of the ice sheet.

    The June melt has jumped to far above +2 standard deviations from the 1980-2010 average.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/06/15/3788651/greenland-record-globe-hottest-year/

    Reply
    • We’re having some serious melt spikes. Not like June 2012 as yet, though. Long range forecasts show quite a bit of warming through end of June. It’s shaping up to be a rough melt year. But the track’s a bit below 2012 at this time.

      Reply
  8. Ryan in New England

     /  June 16, 2016

    A review of the Western world’s largest banks’ investments reveals that they are still largely supporting fossil fuels, while some investments only succeed if the Paris agreement fails.

    Shorting the Climate is the seventh edition of an annual report by Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, Sierra Club, and Oil Change International that evaluates how exposed big banks are to the worst fossil fuel investments. In finance terms, “short-selling” means to bet on, or profit from, failure.

    Amanda Starbuck, Climate and Energy Program director at Rainforest Action Network (RAN), told ThinkProgress that she was in Paris for the climate talks last year and found herself asking, “if we limit warming to 2 degrees C, what bank investments are going to prove to be bad investments?” The report went in “a really different direction this year” as a result of this new global dynamic. She said the big question is “which banks are effectively gambling that we’re going to fail” by investing in the fossil fuel industries that have to stay in the ground: coal power, coal mining, tar sands, deep oil, Arctic oil, and LNG.

    “Too many banks are risking resources on unstable fossil fuel companies and exposing investors and customers to greater financial risks while financing dirty, dangerous projects that threaten our planet,” Cindy Carr, spokesperson for the Sierra Club, told ThinkProgress.

    The results show that, through hundreds of billions in investments, some of the world’s top banks are helping lock the world into a high-emissions pathway that makes it extremely difficult to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius. In the last three years, banks have sunk $154 billion in the biggest coal-fired power producers, $42 billion in companies active in coal mining, $282 billion in businesses building LNG export infrastructure, and $306 billion into companies engaged in the most extreme forms of oil extraction.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/06/15/3788310/shorting-the-climate-bank-report/

    Reply
    • Now just imagine how much further along we would be if this investment was in renewables and inefficiencies…

      So what does this excess of fossil fuel investment money do?

      1. It locks in more carbon emissions down the road by providing more oil, gas and coal supply.
      2. This works in the economic sense both by generating a glut environment that has traditionally depressed the rate of renewable energy adoption and by essentially propping up some fossil fuel industries and allowing them to avoid bankruptcy and produce fossil fuels for longer than they otherwise would.
      3. It props up the various political special interests who have worked so hard for so long to prevent an energy transition. So, yeah, in a way this money is basically indirectly going into republican campaign money contributions and climate change denial and anti-renewable energy think tanks.
      4. It confuses smaller investors — basically sending a signal that the big investors are still supporting fossil fuels. This creates a draw of smaller funds following the big money.
      5. It protects legacy fossil fuel assets and locks in fossil fuel burning for longer and longer. 6. Not only is there no way to avoid 2 C if this keeps up (and avoiding 2 C is a pretty big stretch at this point requiring a much more serious effort than is now being undertaken), but there’s no way to avoid 3 C or 4 C either. You just can’t fund these big fossil fuel projects anymore and hope to avoid some seriously catastrophic climate impacts.
      7. To the point above, you’ve got to wonder — what’s it that the big banks don’t get? Did they just say, hey, we’re going to give up the future lives of our kids and our own secure and enjoyable retirement in a world that’s basically not falling apart so that the fossil fuel industry can limp along for another decade or two or three or more? The climate scientists have made the prognosis. Quit fossil fuels or else. And if there’s one thing that big banks need to learn it’s that you don’t ignore climate scientists.

      In the end, it’s basically paying a devil’s due. Invest in energy from hell, see what you get…

      Reply
  9. Andy in SD

     /  June 16, 2016

    Nice renderings (not photos). Hopefully they can put this out in production soon. Since a long haul cab runs up huge mileage this would be a god send not just for efficiency, but also for truckers. Hopefully independent truckers can get these and be able to survive, that is a tough life with thin margins.

    Reply
    • Yeah, it’s a hell of a life. Hopefully, this is able to help. We should work to make certain that truckers get something back from any economic gain made by the new tech. This trend of falling wages and benefits is another bit of the puzzle that’s threatening national structures around the world with unrest. Economic inequality = instability and conflict.

      Reply
  10. foodnstuff

     /  June 16, 2016

    So it still runs on fossil fuels? Should be a real goer when they finally run out.

    Reply
    • So the interesting thing about this truck is that it will have more than two times the all-electric range of any current electric truck on the road. In addition, it’s fuel agnostic tank can run on biofuels as well. So, yeah, if fossil fuels run out soon, this thing will be OK. Although, I wouldn’t count on fossil fuels running out anytime soon due to anything other than being out-competed by renewable energy.

      Reply
  11. Jay M

     /  June 16, 2016

    Thunderstorms noticeable south of Algeria:

    re last post

    Reply
    • Nikola seems too good to be real.
      WAY too good.

      I don’t think this will ever be built, but I do think a lot of people will be bilked.
      IIRC turbine electric locomotives were tried in the 60’s & proved too inefficient and far too noisy.
      It sounds as though they’re using Tesla’s good name to peddle vaporware

      Terry

      Reply
      • This from Gas 2 in early May:

        “Is Nikola Motors vaporware? We don’t know. The ideas seem reasonable enough, especially for the hybrid electric tractor. Its concept is very similar to what WrightSpeed in San Francisco is doing — hybrid electric heavy duty trucks that feature a gas turbine to keep the batteries charged during operation. But Ian Wright has been building his company piece by piece since he walked away from his role as one of the original founders of Tesla Motors. There is substance and real manufacturing experience that back up his ideas.

        Nikoka Motors has none of that. The need for new ways to move cargo in an environmentally friendly way is real enough. Will Nikola Motors fill that need? “We’ll see,” said the Zen master.”

        Since that time, the company has accumulated 7,000 preorders. This in an industry that sells about 500,000 trucks a year in the US. I’d call that a pretty big interest for something that was merely vaporware. And it’s not like the trucking industry is technically unsavvy. I don’t think folks would be putting their 1,500 dollars (refundable) down if they didn’t think the company had a good chance of success.

        WrightSpeed is deploying its trucks along similar engineering lines. And I’d say Ian Wright certainly knows what he’s doing. Gas2 notes about Nikola’s CEO:

        “Nikola Motors “was quietly formed by founder and CEO Trevor Milton years ago to design and manufacture electric vehicles, energy storage systems, and electric vehicle drivetrain components,” according to a company press release. “By working together with some of the top engineering firms in America, we were able to design vehicles that have previously been thought impossible to design,” says Milton, who adds, “This is just the beginning of what’s ahead for America, our company and the electric vehicle market.””

        In the end, we’ve got at least two players working in this space. So even if Nikola does not hit its spec goals or timelines, we’ve got WrightSpeed that’s basically doing the same thing. I think it’s very likely that Nikola will have a turbine electric truck hybrid for its customers. Those 7,000 preorders basically demand something other than vaporware if the company is going to have a viable future. I guess what’s to be seen is whether those strong performance goals can be hit by this new design.

        Reply
      • I dunno, twemoran.-

        The earlier gas turbine electric locomotives didn’t have batteries – they were not hybrid vehicles. For that reason, their turbines had to operate at a wide range of speeds, and turbines are not very efficient when they have to do that,so I read.

        But this turbine will operate intermittently, and can operate at its most efficient operating speed all the time.

        The multi-fuel capability sounds a lot like the M1 Abrams tank. This tank is a notorious fuel hog, but it also has to operate at a wide range of speeds, unlike the Nikola turbine. There are a huge number of gas turbine helicopters with possibly millions of hours of operating experience, with turbines that also have to operate at a wide variety of speeds. The weight vs. power requirements of helicopters mean that gas turbines are specific power champs, otherwise they would not be used in helicopters.

        The gas turbines are also lighter than diesel engines, and save weight. The weight vs. power requirements of helicopters mean that gas turbines are specific power champs, otherwise they would not be used in helicopters.

        The battery pack would seem to be great ideas for trucks, which now have to crawl slowly up grades, and more importantly waste all the energy they could recover going downhill by regenerative braking. Since energy spent going uphill will be recovered with maybe 90% efficiency, it seems reasonable to believe that these Nikola trucks could go uphill faster. The energy recovery by regenerative braking and the higher peak torque of the electric motors in effect flattens out the hills.

        The military has programs to increase turbine efficiency by 25%, and Nikola could benefit from that military R&D. Even mufflers to absorb the noise might be easier with a turbine that runs at a constant speed.

        Those 7000 orders would add up to 2.3 billion or so in revenue, if they are all produced. Banks will loan on those sorts of numbers, I think, and private investors would likely be fascinated.

        Once the banks have money invested, even if the management is as hopelessly inept as Donald Trump, the banks will often step in and run the business to keep from losing their investment.

        It all seems feasible to me, due to electric motors being very efficient over a wide range of speeds and loads, turbines being light and reasonably efficient when running at a constant or over a narrow range of speeds, regenerative braking, and lithium ion batteries.

        Reply
    • That’s a big dip in the Jet Stream — one that’s touching the top of the ITCZ and pulling off these big storms. That’s one heck of an interaction. Would hate to see what would happen if this interchange got more involved.

      Reply
  12. 05:45 UTC

    Reply
    • Spike

       /  June 16, 2016

      Boy is China getting hammered – I read a report yesterday on how Xinjiang in the NW is being hit by meltwater floods, and they have drought, desertification and heatwave problems too and I have read climate projections which show acute future vulnerability. Their motivation for a great transition couldn’t be more obvious except to those with fossil fuel motivated interests. For them it is becoming a matter of survival, as with India.

      Reply
      • This is the new SE Asia monsoon. China’s been hammered like this for four years in a row now. Basically every year we’ve got floods in the South, drought and fires in the north.

        Reply
  13. – Via climatehawk1 — Lamar Smith’s Texas:
    – I don’t see a mention of gas/oil/fracking contamination though.

    Flooding costs will soar in a warming world, economic analysts say

    … Houston’s devastating Memorial Day flooding last year brought costs estimated above $45 million.

    Now, a punishing series of major flood events this year have Texans, particularly in and around Houston, increasingly discussing with renewed interest some questions that have floated around for years.

    Questions, for instance, about restricting development in flood prone areas, about slowing (and maybe reversing) the conversion of flood-retaining natural areas like wetlands, and about the increasing role in Texas flood disasters of humanity’s prodigious emissions of planet-warming, deluge-boosting carbon pollution.

    http://texasclimatenews.org/?p=12567

    Reply
    • Well, making these links would be helpful from the mitigation and preparedness perspective. I’m glad you keep bringing this up.

      Reply
  14. – 05:58 UTC
    – California – Santa Barbara – Santa Ynez Mountains – location not far from R. Reagan’s ranch and recent oil pipeline spill.
    The heat and the ridge is just beginning to set in.

    Reply
    • Michel Brewer ‏@MichelBrewer 9m9 minutes ago California, USA

      #ScherpaFire Santa Barbara County -El Capitan and Refugio State Beach to be evac’d
      – structure protection has moved into oil facility #abc

      Reply
      • – Wildfire near oil facility
        Wednesday, June 15, 2016

        Scherpa Fire Apocalyptic Scene

        This is the scene tonight in Las Flores Canyon at the refinery location up the canyon from El Capitán State Beach on the Gaviota Coast of Santa Barbara County. Both the refinery and the state beach are evacuated at this hour as are other nearby communities and facilities.

        Thus far the wind-driven fire has consumed a guestimated 300 acres but the true size is probably already ten times that number. Dreaded sundowner winds are predicted to kick in overnight after non-Sundowners already whipped up this fire with wind gusts up to 40 m.p.h. Photo courtesy Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara Co. FD PIO (all rights reserved).

        Reply
      • – I know these places, and I know the conditions there.
        Forgive in depth coverage at this time.
        I know wildfire has a place in the natural cycle but I our changed climate is out of place.

        Reply
      • Giana Magnoli ‏@magnoli 10m10 minutes ago

        Highway 101 is closed between western #Goleta and #Buellton because of the #scherpafire #sherpafire, take Highway 154 or 5 to get thru

        Reply
      • – Just to show how hard the response is- DC-8 and other air attack:

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  June 16, 2016

        This doesn’t look good.

        Reply
    • Thanks for this, DT. Locked and loaded.

      Reply
  15. Greg

     /  June 16, 2016

    I love the story as you’ve told this one and, of course, thanks for the hat tip. Thought you might like the video posted below because it shows the moments an ICE performance lover gets it regarding electric transport. You can scroll to the later part of the video for his epiphany. Warning about language in this one:

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  June 16, 2016

      That’s awesome! I have have owned and done lots of miles on sport bikes, so I know how fast they are. Usually 0-60 mph in just over 2 seconds. And the Tesla pulls away like the bike isn’t even moving. This is what I meant with my previous comment about fossil fuel lovers/gear heads getting behind EVs once they see the performance potential for themselves. The type of people who like speed and being the fastest don’t care too much how they get their power, as long as the power is there when they step on the “gas” pedal.

      Reply
    • I think this is what some would call a ‘come to Jesus moment.’😉

      Reply
  16. Ryan in New England

     /  June 16, 2016

    Bob Henson has a good piece covering the upcoming heat in the US, and also mentions Greenland’s increased melt and record heat in Antarctica.

    https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/us-heat-builds-parts-of-southwest-may-approach-alltime-june-highs

    Reply
  17. Ryan in New England

     /  June 16, 2016

    A climate denial headquarters (WSJ) is running ads that call out the WSJ for its climate change denial. Personally, I love this!

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/06/14/3788269/wall-street-journal-climate-science-denial/

    Reply
    • From the article:

      “Editors at Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) are about as anti-science they come, but they aren’t anti-money. So for a few extra Hamiltons more than their usual ad rate, the climate science deniers at the WSJ are running an ad calling them out for their denial.”

      The two words I’d use for this are — zero integrity.

      So for some oil company bucks, the WSJ will rant on and on about how climate change is real, the books are cooked by scientists pandering for gov’t money, etc, etc. And for a few more bucks from an environmental non-profit, the WSJ will air ads that call out the WSJ for its own lack of ability to tell the truth on climate change.

      At this point you have to question whether the WSJ operates under any symblance of journalistic integrity or if it is simply a clearing house for advertising by various interests — both within its print pages and on the actual ad pages. I suppose that’s what you get when everything can be boiled down to making that all important buck. Anarchy-based free market thinking at its finest here folks. At least tabloids don’t have any pretense of integrity. Maybe the Journal should just go in all out for that.

      Reply
  18. (facetious alert) After crossing this 400ppm threshold of co2, it seems like newscasters that seek to cover rare weather events would be reports from areas that are having somewhat uneventful, calm weather —— locations without unfolding natural disasters!

    Forecast for New Mexico in the vicinity of the latest wildfire:

    SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT UNTIL 4:30PM MDT THU
    
 PROLONGED VERY HOT AND DRY PATTERN THROUGH EARLY NEXT WEEK… 
 A VERY HOT AND DRY WEATHER PATTERN WILL DOMINATE THE AREA THROUGH EARLY NEXT WEEK. ALREADY TOASTY TEMPERATURES WILL CONTINUE TO STEADILY INCREASE THROUGH THE WEEKEND… WITH SATURDAY AND SUNDAY EXPECTED TO BE THE HOTTEST DAYS OF 2016 AND… IN SOME AREAS..JUST SHY OF RECORD VALUES. MAXIMUM TEMPERATURES WILL VARY FROM THE 80S TO LOWER 90S IN THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS… WITH MID 90S TO NEAR 105 AT THE LOWER ELEVATIONS. THIS WILL BE A SIGNIFICANT HEAT WAVE FOR MID- JUNE THAT WILL LIKELY EXTEND INTO MUCH OF NEXT WEEK. SUBTLE INCREASES IN MOISTURE SHOULD TAKE THE EDGE OFF THE HEAT BEGINNING TUESDAY OR WEDNESDAY.

    Reply
  19. Mark Ruffalo Urges President Obama to Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground in Gripping New Documentary:
    http://www.alternet.org/environment/mark-ruffalo-urges-president-obama-keep-fossil-fuels-ground-gripping-new-documentary

    Reply
  20. climatehawk1

     /  June 16, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  21. June

     /  June 16, 2016

    To those who say humans can’t affect the climate…

    “Antarctic CO2 Hit 400 PPM For First Time in 4 Million Years”

    In the remote reaches of Antarctica, the South Pole Observatory carbon dioxide observing station cleared 400 ppm on May 23, according to an announcement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday. That’s the first time it’s passed that level in 4 million years.

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/antarctica-co2-400-ppm-million-years-20451

    Reply
    • The last bastions are falling. Worth noting that the southern hemisphere lags the north by about 3 years RE rates of FF accumulation. In 2-3 years that number will be higher than at any time in the last 12-15 million years. The reason is that CO2 levels plateaued in the Miocene-Pliocene transition.

      Miocene was 3-4 C hotter than 1880s… We’re in global Miocene CO2 ranges now.

      Reply
  22. Passerby

     /  June 16, 2016

    Apologies if this has already been posted by on of the many crackerjack researchers here. “Antarctic CO2 Hit 400 PPM For First Time in 4 Million Years ”
    http://www.noaa.gov/south-pole-last-place-on-earth-to-pass-global-warming-milestone

    Reply
  23. Jeremy

     /  June 16, 2016
    Reply
  24. – Robert, this AM KBOO’s ‘Presswatch’ program featured your ‘Death Valley Like Heat Wave’ post.
    Most, if not all, of the post on the subject of global warming was read over the air.🙂

    Reply
  25. Zack Labe ‏@ZLabe 35m35 minutes ago

    Unfortunately once again, the entire Pacific Coast is now under at least D0 “Abnormally Dry” conditions… #drought

    Reply
  26. – SBA fire calmed down. Hwy reopened. A sample of fire retarding/fighting air attack effort.

    Reply
  27. – What we’re up against media wise, etc.

    Via Michael Mann:

    Conservative Funders of Climate Denial Are Quietly Spending Millions To Generate More Partisan Journalism

    Millions of dollars have been pouring into conservative media outlets and student journalism projects from the same groups funding climate science denial, a DeSmog analysis has found.

    Analysis of IRS tax filings shows the funding groups, including some linked to the oil billionaire Koch brothers, are trying to combat a perceived left-wing bias in media with cash to ideologically-aligned projects.

    Many of the funded journalism projects also produce stories that claim human-caused climate change is either a liberal hoax or that policies to mitigate it, such as promotion of renewable energy, are an unnecessary drag on the economy.

    DeSmog found that two linked funds — Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund — have been a key source of cash for organisations attacking climate science and opposing policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

    DCF and DT have been described as the “dark money ATM” of the US conservative movement.
    http://www.desmogblog.com/2016/06/16/conservative-funders-climate-denial-are-quietly-spending-millions-create-more-partisan-journalism

    Reply
    • There we go.

      Let’s take a closer look and highlight this particular phrase:

      “Many of the funded journalism projects also produce stories that claim human-caused climate change is either a liberal hoax or that policies to mitigate it, such as promotion of renewable energy, are an unnecessary drag on the economy.” (emphasis added)

      And there it is — climate change denial is renewable energy denial.

      Reply
    • Tweet scheduled on this, thanks.

      Reply
  28. Reply
    • Svalbard? If so, he can take a tour of the recently opened ocean waters to the north which are now ice free for probably the first time in 115,000 years.

      Reply
  29. mark

     /  June 16, 2016
    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  June 18, 2016

      Thanks Mark.
      An excellent source of info such as the EV sales and market in China

      http://evobsession.com/china-electric-car-sales-report-byd-dominating/

      The Chinese auto market had more than 26,000 new EVs zooming the streets last month, a 119% increase over the same month last year, which is in line with the annual growth rate. The EV market share is now around 0.9%.

      Some rather nice vehicles in that lot. Tesla S comes in at No 15

      Reply
  30. Greg

     /  June 16, 2016

    A beautiful gif using the NOAA GODAS ocean temperature data showing the changing El Nino in May.

    Reply
  31. John Russell

     /  June 20, 2016

    The Internal Combustion Engine is only 20-25% efficient which is really quite ridiculous but let’s put it in terms a businessman can handle

    The Internal Combustion Engine is like paying an Employee $20/hr to do $4-5/hr worth of work. No sane businessman would ever do that for a HUMAN BEING but for an automobile, no problem, no problem what so ever

    Reply
  1. Al Gore’s Revenge — Internal Combustion Engines Stink and This Ridiculously Powerful Electric Turbine Truck Proves It | robertscribbler | GarryRogers Nature Conservation

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